Weather beautiful, but it has a downside

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The daffodils are in full bloom, people are rummaging for their spring and summer clothes and it's still almost a month until Easter.

If you aren't getting outside to enjoy this week's 80-degree weather, you should do so. We're also enjoying the lack of wind, something that's a treat in Southwest Nebraska.

There are two sides to every story, of course, and the unfortunate side to this one is the lack of moisture.

McCook is 1.19 inches below normal precipitation for the year, which added to 2011's deficit of 2.80 inches, puts us almost 4 inches in negative territory.

It hasn't been that long ago Southwest Nebraska was suffering through a drought -- which exacerbated the Republican River Compact dispute with Kansas, an issue that is still far from settled.

The immediate effect is that our region, like most of the state west of Grand Island, is tinder-dry, making grass fires inevitable. Yes, we have been spared high winds for the last few days, but checking Tuesday's data from the McCook airport, humidity fell to 9 percent at about 5 p.m., when the temperature hit the daily high of 81 degrees.

The National Weather Service issues "red flag" warnings under such conditions, when relative humidity reaches 20 percent or less for three hours or more.

The next predicted chance of rain isn't until early next week, and that includes lightning which brings its own chance of grass fires.

Of course, we know better than to think that winter is over in March. Some of our worst blizzards have arrived in this month.

So let's enjoy the nice weather, and hope for some substantial rain in the near future. Until then, let's also be careful we don't start any grass fires to spoil anyone else's nice day.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: